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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 20) – Fiji’s Interim Government has undertaken to hold parliamentary elections in less than 24 months as opposed to its three year timeframe announced earlier this year.

The assurance was given by Fiji in talks with the European Union in Brussels in the past two days.

A detailed assessment on the roadmap for elections will be carried out by independent auditors appointed by the Pacific Islands Forum.

In a statement today, the European Commission office in Suva said Fiji also announced it will lift the Public Emergency Regulations next month.

On the judiciary, Fiji said it was committed to its independence.

Fiji sent a high level ministerial delegation to Brussels to try and salvage about $350 million [US$] in development aid held back by the EU after the December 5, 2006 coup.

The statement said the EU considers the military takeover a breach of the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement and the Development Cooperation Instrument.

The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty between the EU and the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP countries).

The EU said it considered essential that the rule of law is restored in Fiji and that political rights of all citizens are respected equally and on the basis of the Constitution.

The EU encouraged Fiji to examine the "coup culture" and the means to eradicate it.

The statement said the EU also declared that it was ready to support key commitments.

More political dialogue has been planned with Fiji to ensure the earliest possible restoration of respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law.

Fiji’s delegation to the Brussels meetings was led by Interim Foreign Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

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